Pathogen Profiles

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Molecular Plant Pathology - Pathogen Profiles

Colletotrichum: tales of forcible entry, stealth, transient confinement and

Akinwunmi O. Latunde-Dada
Department of Plant Pathology, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK

Taxonomy: Imperfect, anamorphic fungus (subdivision Deuteromycotina, form-class Deuteromycetes, form-subclass Coelomycetidae, form-order Melanconiales, form-family Melanconiaceae) with 39 'accepted' species [Sutton, B.C. (1992) The genus Glomerella and its anamorph Colletotrichum. In: Colletotrichum: Biology, Pathology and Control (Bailey, J.A. and Leger, M.J., eds). Wallingford, UK: CAB International, pp. 1-26.] which continue to be revised and clarified by molecular taxonomic techniques. Species complexes and subspecific groups have been proposed.
Host range: Species of Colletotrichum attack a large number of important tropical and sub-tropical crop species and cause economically significant diseases of cereals, grain legumes, vegetables, forage legumes, fruit crops and perennial crops. Tropical and sub-tropical fruit production is significantly affected by postharvest anthracnose.
Disease symptoms: Symptoms of the attack are commonly known as anthracnose and comprise dark, sunken, lenticular necrotic lesions containing the acervuli of the pathogen.
Key attractions: A model fungus for research on host specificity, mycoherbicides, appressorial melanization, appressorial function, quiescent infection, fungal lifestyles, intracellular hemibiotrophy and the determinants of the switch from biotrophy to necrotrophy among others.
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From transient confinement to breakout: light micrographs of post-penetration events in leaf epidermal cells of four different host plants inoculated with Colletotrichum destructivum, C. linicola or C. truncatum. Bar = 10 m. 

(a) Formation of an intracellular saccate infection vesicle, with a long narrow neck emanating from a melanized appressorium, in an epidermal cell of lentil (Lens culinaris) 24 h after inoculation with C. truncatum.

(b) A fully developed multilobed vesicle of C.
destructivum confined transiently within an epidermal cell of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) 72 h after inoculation.

(c) Invasion of neighbouring cells by secondary
hyphae, developing 84 h after inoculation, from a multilobed vesicle of C. truncatum that was initially confined within an epidermal cell of broad bean (Vicia faba). Arrows indicate breakout points. 

(d) Radiation of secondary hyphae from the distal ends of a multilobed vesicle of C. linicola into leaf tissues of flax (Linum usitatissimum), 96 h after inoculation. Arrows indicate points at which the walls of the initially infected epidermal cell were bridged.

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